FORUM: Art for Ithaca’s Future

An opportunity to voice your opinion about “new directions for the arts in downtown Ithaca”:

On Saturday, April 25th, the Downtown Ithaca Alliance invites community members of all ages to ART FOR A JUST & SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY, the theme for Art in the Heart of the City 2009 and the DIA’s contribution to Ithaca’s Earth Day ’09 celebration.

The event opens with a 12:00 Noon Parade for the Earth on the Ithaca Commons, followed at 1 pm by a Forum on Exploring Directions for the Arts in Downtown Ithaca in the Tompkins County Library Borg- Warner Room.

Everyone is invited to gather for the Parade at 11:00 a.m. The Parade will start from the Bernie Milton Pavilion at 12:00 noon.

The Exploring Directions Forum continues the exploration of a role for the arts in future downtown development which was launched last fall, as part of the DIA’s 2008 Art in the Heart of the City public art program.

Alastair Noble, internationally-renowned artist and former Cornell faculty member, will open with an overview of how artists working in public spaces are engaging sustainability themes. Kathy Bruce, whose bamboo and morning glory Graces were featured in Art in the Heart of the City 2008, will then draw on her own work to show how one artist might interpret Ithaca’s 2009 theme of Art for a Just & Sustainable Community. The Forum will conclude with an exploration of possibilities for creating a dynamic future for the arts in downtown Ithaca.

Specifically, panelists and participants will be asked to consider three key questions:

1. How should the arts factor into thinking about re-doing the Ithaca Commons?

2. What might ‘iconic art’ for downtown Ithaca look like?

3. How can the Downtown Ithaca Alliance engage local artists and the broader community in making public art a more prominent part of downtown life?

(add your questions here)

Ithaca’s Public Art Commission

Did you know the City of Ithaca has a Public Art Commission?  Well, I just found out that it does.

The PAC is an advisory committee to the City of Ithaca on decisions about and implementation of public art.  PAC receives and reviews proposals for public art projects as well as donations of public sculptures, etc. to the City of Ithaca.  Anyone who has a concrete idea (and funding) for a public art project can and should present their proposal to PAC.  I’m assuming it would be a good idea to get on their agenda…

Clearly not many artists know they can present their proposals for recommendation and approval, so do tell them.  PAC doesn’t seem to have a yearly budget, and unlike some exemplary government public art programs around the country (of course, in bigger cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chapel Hill, NYC, among others)  the City of Ithaca doesn’t currently employ the “percent for art” funding program.  (That explains a lot.)  Currently most of the public art we encounter in the city has either been donated, privately commissioned, part of the grant-funded Art in the Heart of the Downtown Alliance, or otherwise grant-funded.

The good news is PAC has recently received some funding to support their first open call for proposals for (the first, I think) public art project funded by the City, which should be coming out soon, so look out for it.  In the meantime, we really need to do something to get that Percent For Art funding mechanism in place here.

On the City of Ithaca website, under Boards and Committees, you will find information about PAC.  You’ll find the full Public Art Plan PDF here.

best local gallery?

According to the “best of Ithaca” poll Handwork Gallery is the best local gallery.  Here I thought it was a crafts store.